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Referendums in the EU by member states

A UK Parliament, House of Commons Briefing Paper was published on 22 April 2016 showing referendums held by EU countries since 1972

Referendums have been held in both candidate states and Member States on EU membership.
EU Treaty amendments, EU enlargement, Economic and Monetary Union. New treaties or new constitutional arrangements have also attracted referendums in some Member States. These may be binding, advisory or consultative.

This document charts referendums held since 1972 on EU matters in candidate and Member States and in Switzerland on its relations with the EU, with brief details on turnout and results.

It also outlines the positions of France and Austria on holding a referendum on EU enlargement, particularly with regard to a possible Turkish accession.

The full report can be found at


Mobile Phone Roaming Charges

On 11 September 2013, the European Commission adopted a legislative package for a “Connected Continent: Building a Telecoms Single Market” as part of the Digital Single Market initiative. Part of this initiative is remove the burden of roaming charges.

Details on the Connected Continent legislative package can be found at


In October 2015, after more than 2 years of negotiations, MEPs voted to end mobile phone roaming charges across the EU (passed into law) which will cease to exist by 15 June 2017. This means that UK mobile phone users will pay the same prices when travelling across EU member countries, as they do at home.


From April 30 2016 operators are only able to charge a small additional amount to domestic prices up to €0.05 per minute of call made, and up to €0.0114 per minute of call received, €0.02 per SMS sent, and €0.05 per MB of data (excl. VAT)


I noticed that for my own mobile phone PAYG account in the UK prices changed on 23rd March 2016 from

10p per minute for calls, 6p per text message and 20p per day for 20MB of data


15p per minute for calls, 5p per text message and 5p per MB of data.

When travelling recently in another EU country (after 30th April) I can verify that prices in that country were set at these (increased) prices, so I can confirm that I am paying exactly the same in the EU as I do in the UK.

Rights and Obligations of EU membership

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A paper was published by the Government on 14th April 2016, which sets out the main Rights and Obligations arising from the UK’s membership of the European Union.

“This paper aims to set out the main rights and obligations arising from the UK’s membership of the EU. It is not exhaustive and does not seek to cover every right and obligation arising under EU law. Instead, it aims to provide a balanced overview of the most important rights and obligations”

The paper contains a wealth of information outlining the interaction between the UK and the EU.

Here is a brief summary of the main points extracted from the document ( the original consists of almost 100 pages).

Detailed information on each of these topics is provided in  the full document.

The paper is available  at:


The EU’s Institutions

The EU has a number of institutions involved in taking decisions and making EU laws that apply to the UK. The UK is represented in, or able to nominate members to, all of them. The EU can only make laws within the rules set out in the EU Treaties. These provide different mechanisms for agreeing different types of laws. The UK has a say and promotes the UK’s national interest. Some core principles govern how EU law applies in the UK and in other Member States. But the UK has also negotiated a number of exceptions that give it a special position within the EU.

EU laws

The EU Treaties form the highest level of EU law. They define where the EU is permitted to act, to what extent and how. They also contain a mixture of procedural rules for how the EU operates and substantive rules, such as the requirement that Member States ensure a right to equal pay for men and women. The Treaties set out subject areas in which the EU can make more specific laws, known as the EU’s ‘competences’.Below this, the EU adopts directives, regulations and decisions using the powers set out in the EU Treaties. Directives set out a legal framework that the Member States have to follow, but leave it up to the Member State to choose exactly how to make it part of their law. So once an EU Directive has been agreed, all Member States have an obligation to make national laws that give it effect, but they have a choice as to precisely how to do so. Regulations contain detailed legal rules. Once made, regulations have the force of law in the UK and throughout the EU. Regulations only rarely require the Member States to create their own legal rules in order to ensure the regulation has the desired legal effect.The EU can adopt binding decisions. For example, the Commission has powers to issue decisions that are binding in order to enforce competition rules. Below this, the EU also adopts legislation in order to supplement and amend, or to implement, the rules set out in directives or regulations. Such pieces of legislation are referred to respectively as ‘delegated’ and ‘implementing’ acts.

The EU Budget System

The current EU budget system has a cycle of seven years. The total amount of money available over this period has to be agreed unanimously by all 28 Member States, so the UK, like other Member States, has a veto. The UK has a permanent rebate on its annual contribution (in the form of an upfront reduction to our gross contribution) to the EU budget, unlike any other EU Member State.

Joining and Leaving the EU

European countries can apply to join the EU but the process is complex and lengthy. Each existing EU Member State has a veto over any new country joining, as well as a veto over the pace of negotiations and the terms on which it joins. Any Member State can leave the EU.

Government Papers

The following documents were prepared by the government, published by the Cabinet Office and Presented to Parliament pursuant to section 7 of the European Union Referendum Act 2015


Alternatives to membership: possible models for the United Kingdom outside the European Union


Rights and obligations of European Union membership


David Camerons Re-negotiation

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In November 2015 the Prime Minister, David Cameron, wrote to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, outlining his 4 goals for EU reform talks in the areas of Financial protection, European competitiveness, Migration and Powers for the UK Parliament.

A copy of this letter is available

Following discussions with the EU in February 2016, David Cameron made a statement in the House of Commons on the UK’s new special status in the EU and the in-out referendum on 23 June.

The text of this statement is available